Thursday, March 8, 2012

A Lesson from Robin Hood

Last week, ACDC Board & Staff had a retreat, an afternoon set aside to focus on who we are, where we’ve been, and in what directions we should be headed. My board is a great group of volunteers, and each of them brings something unique to our organization. In that set of 9 individuals, I have quick-thinkers and ruminators, realists and eternal optimists, problem-analyzers and problem-solvers, historians and dreamers. Depending on the day or issue, I can fall into any of those categories, so having a board comprised of such mixed dispositions is a tremendous asset. During our retreat, it was interesting to observe where we really shine as a group (clarifying our purpose, considering the possibilities, learning from past efforts) and where we sometimes struggle (determining exactly how to get from here to there). One important thing came through loud and clear, regardless of who was speaking or where we were in the conversation: every one of us affiliated with ACDC cares about this place. We call Atchison County Home. We are here on purpose.

I’ve been thinking a lot about not only my board, but all the boards that support and guide the organizations in our county. Whether an organization is about education or healthcare or agriculture or development or community betterment, it has a board very much like mine. (In fact, it’s highly likely that members of my board serve on that board as well!) A handful of individuals seem to be everywhere, involved in everything, but that’s ok. That’s how it goes in any community, big or small. Leaders here may not be mighty in number but are mighty in the things that count – heart and commitment and dedication to the future of Atchison County.

Although I wish I could spout brilliance from my years in college and grad school, the things that (unfortunately) seem to stick with me are pure fiction from movies, tv shows and books. One of those permanently imbedded into my psyche is “Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves.” As I’ve been reflecting on the commitment of our volunteer boards, a scene keeps coming to mind when Robin was trying to convince the band of outlaws to come together: “One free man defending his home is more powerful than ten hired soldiers.” In Atchison County, we may not be defending our home from attack, but every day we are defending our home from the death of our way of life, our future. We are not the same people, culture or composition as we were 25, 30, 50 years ago. We will never be that again. But we CAN defend our home from those (internal and external) who are ready to write us off as past-tense. We CAN fight for a great future for our children.

You see, there is power in one who considers Atchison County Home. You couldn’t hire enough publicists or marketing gurus or developers or recruiters to turn our county into a thriving metropolis. The answers do not lie in expertise or in outside salvation – the answer lies in all of us who are here on purpose, who choose this place every day. In those moments, community leaders and volunteers, when you can’t bear to go to yet another meeting, when something your group has worked on tirelessly doesn’t happen, when you feel like you’ve been knocked down by negativity or circumstance, know that what you do matters. Take heart and listen to the oh-so-wise words of Azeem the Great One, Robin’s trusted Crusades pal: “Get up. Move faster!”


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